The formation of tau tangles, a sign of cognitive impairment, is associated with decreased blood flow in the brain.
Treatments that target the vascular health in the brain can be more effective than single-target therapies in maintaining memory and cognitive function. With Alzheimer’s prevention in mind, we should carefully consider vascular health and related risk factors — such as high blood pressure, smoking and physical inactivity.
Accumulation of Tau Proteins
Researchers wanted to learn how the accumulation of tau proteins, characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, contributes to limited blood flow in the brain. To do so, the team analyzed photographs of MRI and PET, as well as cerebrospinal fluid, across two groups: normal cognitive individuals and those at different dementia levels, including moderate cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Findings of Dysfunction
They found that people with a significant overlap between vascular dysfunction and tau pathology had the worst cognitive symptoms in the main brain regions of Alzheimer’s. Among those in more advanced stages of the disease, the correlation was most pronounced, indicating that the pathway contributes over time to cognitive decline.
The finding is especially significant because it indicates that the pathway may be a useful biological marker to assess the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients. In amyloid-positive people, the effect was also the most pronounced, pointing to a link between cerebrovascular, tau and amyloid pathologies.
Future steps include determining how cognitive impairment over time contributes to the synergy of these pathologies.
The role of vascular dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease is now beginning to be fully understood. Open lifestyle changes that give hope for those at risk are the management of risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure.
Fairmont Grand Senior Living Community
Fairmont Grand is a resident-centered senior living and memory care facility in Rapid City, SD. Our goal is to create an environment where resident well-being is at the heart of everything we do.
Our wide range of services are designed to meet you or your loved one’s daily needs. We offer restaurant-style dining options, a variety of physical activities, and give residents the opportunity to live as independently as possible.